Senate Republicans Fall Into Line On Controversial House Spending Cut Plan

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March 9, 2011 3:55 a.m.

It looks like practically all Senate Republicans will vote for a controversial House spending cut plan on Wednesday, notwithstanding the political risk they’ll face from endorsing deeply controversial policy riders that hack away at abortion rights, environmental protections, and other policies that typically have bipartisan support.

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), a moderate Senate freshman, told reporters Tuesday night that he’s a yes on the plan, which is expected to fail on a test vote Wednesday afternoon in the Democratic-dominated chamber.

“I am,” he told reporters after a Senate vote.

Kirk acknowledged that liberal Republicans will take a hit for voting to endorse all of the policy measures in the bill.“I think the Senate would write a different set of provisions, and so I obviously am more moderate on the social issues,” Kirk said. “I just went through one of the toughest campaigns in the country, so if you wanted to say anything you want about a vote, it’s gonna be said.”

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), who’s facing a primary challenge from a tea-party backed Republican in his state, was arm-twisted into voting for the bill himself, too. He said all Republicans will vote for the bill.

Maine moderates Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have held their cards closer to the vest, and conservative, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told Politico he plans to vote against the package because it doesn’t cut deeply enough. But it looks like Republican leaders bought enough time to yank most of their members into line on the plan.

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